Who used to auditions of Bank of Italy on the maneuvers he knows that via Nazionale does not make discounts, regardless of the color of the government on duty. This time, however, there is an element that makes the difference: the political nature of the Meloni executive.
A government which, moreover, proudly claims this characteristic, after so many technical or emergency or grand coalition executives, and which therefore also reacts to the criticisms of an authoritative institution such as the Bank of Italy. And the central bank cannot ignore it.
IIn this context, the controversies around the relationship of Fabrizio Balassonehead of the Bank of Italy’s economic service, heard yesterday morning by the joint Budget commissions of the House and Senate. Controversy flared up immediately after the news agencies re-launched the most critical passages, in particular on the increase in the cash ceiling and on the abolition of the obligation for merchants to accept payments by debit card and credit card for amounts less than 60 EUR.
The central bank has been consistent with its positions ever. But also the government Melons it . Not only because, by increasing the cash ceiling from one thousand to 5 thousand euros and limiting the obligation to accept payments with the Pos, it has kept its promises made during the electoral campaign, but because these choices respond to a precise political vision, where, for For example, authoritative government officials explain, the interests of merchants come before those of banks and financial intermediaries.
And therefore, they explain at Palazzo Chigi, if Bankitalia’s vision in support of electronic money legitimizes private money, with the same legitimacy others – including the European Central Bank – underline the need not to exclude cash from the circuit, which is the only legal tender.
Except that transforming this legitimate political vision into accusing the Bank of Italy of representing the interests of the banks, as the Undersecretary to the Prime Minister, Giovanbattista Fazzolari, did with a bang, was seen as a false statement. In fact, the government cannot fail to know that Bankitalia’s shareholder banks have no role either in governance or in the line expressed by the governor and the directorate in full autonomy. A value, this of the independence of the central bank, which is part of the material constitution of the country.
And so, in the evening, sources of Palazzo Chigi, had to intervene to clarify that in the words of Fazzolari there is no controversy or desire to question the autonomy of the Bank of Italyto which full appreciation is reiterated.
That the central bank rejected the rules on cash and the POS is not a surprise. Balassone argued the criticisms with studies by the Bank of Italy which show a relationship between the cash cap and organized crime, the shadow economy and tax evasion.
He then recalled that the European Union, already in the 2019 Recommendations, asked our country to strengthen mandatory electronic payments, including by lowering the legal limits for cash payments. And finally he stressed that the Pnrr calls for the modernization of the country and to continue to reduce tax evasion.
Incident closed? For the moment. What happened yesterday could in fact repeat itself, for the simple fact that the political vision of the Meloni government is objectively far from the line pursued in recent years by the Bank of Italy. Balassone, criusing the tax measures in matters of assessment, litigation and collection, it is no coincidence that he used the formula as repeatedly mentioned in the past, to reiterate that interventions of this type – especially if re-proposed in very similar forms and in a short space of time – can have a negative effect on compliance with tax laws. Here too, therefore, nothing new, such as the criticisms of the expansion of the flat tax and the introduction of the incremental flat tax, both in favor of the self-employed, who, with the same income, end up paying less taxes. Finally, Balassone did not even overlook the tightening of the citizen’s income, warning of the risk of an increase in poverty once, at the end of 2023, the subsidy for the theoretically employable will be removed.
Beyond yesterday’s skirmishes, the fact remains that between the top management in via Nazionale and the current tenants of Palazzo Chigi there is no custom that characterized not only the Draghi government, but also the previous ones. All while the governor, Ignazio Visco, is approaching the end of his mandate (October 31, 2023). Fabio Panetta, now on the board of the ECB, is already warming up on the bench. But the difficult coexistence between the government and the governor should last for almost a year.
Subscribe to the newsletter “Whatever it Takes” by Federico Fubini. Data, facts and strong opinions: this week’s challenges for the economy and markets in an unstable world. Every Monday in your inbox.
© REPRODUCTION RESERVED